Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Different Day

As he was getting out of the taxi, he saw the little boy who sat on the street selling oranges. He was shouting at the top of his voice,
"Five cents for one, fifteen cents for five, twenty-five cents for ten!"
He didn't pay attention to the boy, but as he was passing by him, he pulled on the man's sleeve and asked,
"Would you like to buy an orange, sir?"
"No. Let go of me, you little monster."
And he shook the little boy off.

The little boy, whose name was Jonas, had lost his father when he was two years old, and of course, couldn't remember him. His mother was always somewhere as she said, to "work" the whole day, and when she came home, she always fixed herself a glass of bourbon and sat on the couch the whole night, watching the beaten and battered black and white TV. She didn't make too much money at her work, so she told Jonas,
"If you don't want to die, boy, you's might as well work in the street selling oranges an making money."
He tried to look happy and smile when offering his oranges, but the weight of his sorrows was suffocating him and when he returned home to his mother with his penniless pockets, he dreaded the beatings that now were becoming a routine.

It was Christmas Eve and everyone was hurrying through the frost-ridden alleys, eager to sit down in the comfort of their home and their ever-burning fire.
The little boy knew that his mother wasn't home at this time and that she wouldn't be until very late in the night. She had probably forgotten that it was Christmas, and that morning, when Jonas was about to start his daily begging, she slurred at him,
"Thothay, don't thry ta come in unthil tamara. Ith will be loched."
He knew that unless he ate his oranges, he would die of cold and hunger. As he began to peel the fruit, his frozen fingers began to defrost.
Jonas looked up and he was surprised to find the man that he had seen earlier this morning looking down on him. The man was staring at one of the few oranges that were left.
"Here."
And he reached out his hand that contained one whole dollar. The boy's eyes became as round as saucers. He was about to reach to the last three oranges, but the man stopped him, saying,
"I don't want no oranges. Here."
And he dropped the dollar in the boy's outstretched hand.
"Thank you," he stammered.

When Jonas arrived home, he woke up his mother who had fallen asleep with a glass of scotch in her hand.
"Look, Mama, a man gave me one whole dollar! Look, Mama!"
"I'm looking, I'm looking", she grumbled.
But on her face was a smile and a twinkle in her eyes.
"Come on, boy, let's go get some holly. You know, it's Christmas today."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Love

There are some words in every language that have been used so much and have so many dictionary meanings that no one knows what they mean anymore. One of those words is hate, and of course, the opposite, love.
There are three different kinds of love: family love, friendship love, and relationship love. I suppose everyone is clear on the first two meanings of love, but the third one is much more difficult to understand. I could say that many teenagers think of love as two young people staring into each other's eyes and feeling like forever or as two broken, bleeding hearts.
When you're thirteen, you think that the intense crush you have is love, or that the few pleasurable moments you spend holding hands and making out with your boy or girlfriend is love. I suppose as you get older, the meaning you conceive changes over time.
When you think you want to spend your whole life together with someone, you marry and have babies, and instantly, you become parents. Some are enchanted by this fact and some are annoyed and frustrated by the constant shouts at random hours in the night. As the child grows up, you are confronted with more problems than you dreamed of. Your husband (or wife) doesn't listen to you anymore and your child has just begun her (or his) adolescence. Suddenly, you are facing a reflection of yourself and you try to correct your mistakes of so long ago with shouts and pleas.
As you grow old and your grandchildren stop visiting you because of the impending difference of age, you sit back in your hundred-year-old rocking-chair and open your book of memories and remember all of the good and the bad times with your spouse. You remember all of the times that you cried and laughed, all of the times that you sunk and all of the times that you rose, and as the day ends, you go to sleep with a smile on your face. You remember all of the times that you thought that the world had come to an end, when your love kept you holding on, and the times through despair, that had finally come to this moment of twilight. 

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Portraits of Agatha C.

It seemed to her that only in English did she not feel like thinking. In all of the other classes, she was joyful and friendly. Only in this class was she quiet and aloof. And it seems to me, she thought, that I haven't felt like thinking this whole week. Maybe it's just my moods taking over, she reassured herself. She looked at her black nail polish. It suited her well. Since she could think of nothing else to do, she opened her notebook and started writing about it.

When she had awakened, she remembered that today was Friday, and that tomorrow would be Saturday. She got up and started to dress. She stepped outside at 7:15 and started walking to school. Today, I have Choir. Better get ready, she reminded herself. She dislodged her tongue from its comfortable place at the back of her throat and started to sing.
"Standing on the bridge, waiting in the dark, I thought that you'd be here by now."
The cold wind entered her mouth and chilled her throat. But she kept on singing.
"There's nothing but the rain, no footsteps on the ground, I'm listening, but there's no sound." (1)
When she arrived at school, she ran her tongue over the top of her mouth, and got ready.

When she arrived home, she called her mom, ate, and settled down to do her homework. She turned on her Ipod and started to listen to it. When she finished her work, she turned the volume up higher and listened until her mom came home. They ate in silence and then she went to bed. The next day when she awoke, she realized that it was still dark out, and she remembered that it was Saturday.

"When I was in sixth grade, I was the last one to be picked for any team."
Instead of feeling sorry for her friend, M-- laughed.
"Ha, ha! Leftover!"
She had wanted to cry when M-- had said that, but she refrained from doing so and swerved her attention to the board.

What had always puzzled her was the fact that she was friends with M--. It seemed to her that M-- was an insufferable girl who always thought that she was more mature than she really thought she was. When she was excited sometimes and was talking fast, M-- always cooled her down with an abrupt,
"Shut up."
When she offered criticism, M-- turned her head away and ostracized her. And when someone had insulted M--, she just glared at them with a glare filled with daggers, thinking that if she stared at them long enough, her hate would make them melt.
Sometimes, she wished that she could slap M--, tell her to shut up, and be done with her. But she knew that M-- would hit her back and continue hitting just because she felt like it. She just couldn't abide the truth.

She loved the feeling of loneliness, but at the same time, abhorred it. She didn't like to be around people, but at the same time, she was lost without them. When her mother came home, she felt like staying in her room and just shutting the world out, but instead, the smiles were pushing, until the mask sprouted from within.
So, when her sister insulted her role model, she just couldn't take it anymore. She knew as she slammed her door that she should have stayed there and gone on with the conversation, showing no signs of emotion. She also knew that this moment would be recorded by phone to everyone in the world.
"Oh hi Kristen, do you wanna go to hang out next Friday? Ok. Oh, wait. Oh my gosh, I just have to tell you what Agatha did..."
But on the other hand, she knew that she couldn't have held back the tears. She wasn't that strong.

She dreamt herself to sleep. She dreamed of future situations, where she would meet her favourite celebrities and dreamed made-up characters she liked to call "my angel and my demon". She finally realized that she wasn't that mature after all. She was saying fancy things that made absolutely no sense just to make herself feel more important. The only place she was slightly mature was every night before she went to sleep. Her dreamland was her escape.